The state’s public health department placed five more counties under red-level coronavirus restrictions Thursday, but El Paso County was not added to the list.
Alamosa, Otero, Prowers, Pueblo, and Weld counties were moved to Level Red on the state’s COVID-19 dial, which indicated that the counties are in the severe-risk category for the disease. The move, which is one step below a stay-at-home order, goes into effect Sunday at 5 p.m., according to the health department.
Baca, Bent, and Kiowa counties will be placed in Level Orange on Saturday at 5 p.m.
The increased restrictions are in response to a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across the state.
Earlier this week, the state placed 15 counties in the new red level, including those in the Denver metro area.
According to the health department, on Thursday, 1,500 Coloradans were hospitalized with confirmed cased of COVID 19. Eighty-six percent of the state’s intensive-care beds are in use, as are 47% of adult critical care ventilators.
The health department further reports the state is averaging 4,750 new cases a week, and the seven-day positivity rate -- the percent of positive cases among those tested for COVID-19 -- is 12.85%. The World Health Organization recommends that communities restrict gatherings and other personal interactions if the positivity rate is above 5%.
Red Level restrictions prohibit indoor restaurant dining and stop alcohol purchases after 8 p.m. Bars that don’t serve food are closed completely. Offices, gyms, and places of worship are all required to operate at a fraction of capacity. Personal gatherings, such as Thanksgiving dinners, are disallowed with anyone not currently living in the same household, according to the health department.
Level Orange also places restrictions on dining out, office work, gym visits, church sessions, and other personal interactions, but the restrictions are less severe than the red level.